Kodak set to launch new smartphone this week in second attempt to break into market

Kodak is set to release a new smartphone, a year after its first attempt to break into the market failed.

Kodak, the company that brought the world the handheld camera but lost out in the digital revolution, is making its second foray into smartphones.

Last year, the Kodak IM5 smartphone aimed to simplify smartphones for a broader audience. This led to it being labelled an “old person phone”, Kodak chief executive Jeff Clarke told the ABC. “That camera was our first trial,” he said.

Another disappointment was, as Sean O’Kane described in The Verge was that images taken the phone’s camera “paled in comparison to what I could reproduce with my iPhone.”

The smartphone disappeared from shelves and use quickly after its release.

Clarke told Ticky Fullerton on The Business that the new phone will have a “completely different approach,” and that “the camera will be exceptional as you would expect from Kodak.”

The camera of the smartphone, which will be revealed in London on 20 October, is important to the brand as, “Kodak has been in imaging since it started, and we’re going to continue in it going forward.”

Little has been revealed about the phone, apart from teasers on TV and social like this tweet from earlier in the month. 

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 9.10.22 AM

Kodak invented the digital camera in the 1970s, but refused to invest in the new technology for fear it would jeopardise its film business, which we know it did anyway.

It came out of bankruptcy by selling patents to technology companies including Google and Apple. It still retains 6000 patents and the rights to use its original patents and intellectual property.

While returning to profitability earlier this year, and beginning to embrace new technology, Kodak is still committed to film, investing heavily in saving film photography and filmmaking. It is the world’s only remaining producer of super 8, and has introduced a new super 8 film camera, as part of its encouragement of the ‘analogue renaissance’.

It remains to be seen whether the camera will enjoy success, and also if Kodak’s steadfast efforts to keep film alive will be enough to keep the brand successful and relevant in the long term.

 

Ben Ice
BY Ben Ice ON 18 October 2016
Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020